Openly gay New York hotelier Mati Weiderpass penned an op-ed this week, lashing out at “gay extremists” for protests surrounding a discussion he hosted with presidential hopeful Ted Cruz in late April.
Weiderpass and longtime gay business partner Ian Reisner are owners of the OUT NYC Hotel and other properties patronized by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The two ignited large-scale backlash last month when they played hosts to a “fireside chat” with notoriously anti-gay presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz in front of about a dozen people.
The pair faced heavy backlash for hosting the lawmaker who, in the same week, filed two bills to protect states’ rights to ban same-sex marriage.Weiderpass initially defended the decision, claiming that “people on both sides of the aisle need to be able to communicate with one another even when they ideologically disagree.” Both Reisner and Weiderpass later, however, issued separate apologies, both claiming that “a terrible mistake” had been made.
Despite apologies from the businessmen, the queer community still organized a protest outside of the OUT NYC hotel in late April. In wake of this, Weiderpass is once again changing his tune surrounding the meeting with Cruz. In a lengthy op-ed published in The New York Observer, the openly gay businessman calls those attacking him on social media “gay extremists.”
A portion of the article reads:
Since hosting a discussion with Texas Senator Ted Cruz in my home, I have been inundated with hateful, biased social media messages, and attacks from gay extremists (do I dare say the word?) who demand inclusion, but do not believe in dialogue. I know in my heart that these attacks do not represent the rich culture and diversity of the gay community. Yet, in our community, as in so many others, the most vocal often dominate the conversation. I hope this op-ed will help heal wounds and continue necessary progress and discussion.
It is amazing that my businesses are being boycotted by some because I hosted a discussion with an elected official. Not a fundraiser. Not an endorsement. A dialogue. What would we say if the Jewish community organized a boycott of a business leader who hosted a private discussion with an important Muslim politician? We know the answer. I am a longtime leader of my community – and proud of who I am and what I have accomplished.
Boycotting me for a discussion? Since when have we grown so small and intolerant?
Weiderpass goes on to claim that “the next chapter” of the mainstream gay rights movement will require queers to reach across the aisle, “as many State governments are controlled by Republicans. Although some would like it to be, being gay is not a political affiliation.”
Much of the initial backlash surrounding the Cruz meeting came from a Facebook group called “Boycott Fire Island Pines Establishments & Out NYC Hotel” that encouraged the queer community to boycott Weiderpass and Reisner’s various businesses. The group responded to Weiderpass’ op-ed by asking, “Now we are extremists! Demanding that LGBTQ money spent at LGBTQ establishments owned by LGBTQ individuals doesn’t end up supporting anti-LGBTQ policies and politicians… is extremists? How do you feel about that LGBTQ community?”